Fashion week is over. Sorry, I meant Fashion Weekssss are over. New York, London, Milan, Paris and all the other ones around the world.
The perspective of comfy clothes, messy hair up and maybe a “grasse matinée” (French for “lie in”, but literally means fat morning so long sleep or massive breakfast or both, understand what you want here, I take both) is heart warming.
Of course, fashion week is everything wonderful and beautiful the press is showing us. It is a fabulous moment where everybody from the industry is in the same city and can therefore meet, brainstorm, plan exciting shoots, stories, collaborations. It’s a thrilling moment where we get to discover the outcome of designers’ hard work displayed magically by their team.
What the press is not showing us is what fashion workers hide behind their colgate smile or their grumpy cat face: Fashion weeks are super tough! It’s an extreme “no pain, no gain” challenge, both physically and mentally.
Travelling from fashion week to fashion week means packing and who on earth likes packing? Unconditionally happy people maybe, but I suspect those are medicated… maybe few OCD enthusiasts? And let’s put that packing chore into perspective. We are not talking about a person who works and live in one city and has to pack for a well deserved holiday away. We are talking about a breed that travels often, has to look good constantly and has to look different everyday and maybe has to change twice (or more) a day.
Of course the traveling experiences and the looking good in nice clothes is enjoyable. No question about that. It’s the planning ahead with weather and impromptu events options. There is no way you can foresee your state of mind and what you’ll fancy wearing on day 6 of fashion week number 4. There is no comfort zone here. You have to plan outfits that will work with the moment and lobotomise your wishes, moods, envies, weather sensitivities because you simply cannot bring your whole wardrobe with you, it’s too heavy! And you won’t have the time to pick and choose on the day everyday anyway.
WEARING NICE CLOTHES:
Nice clothes don’t necessarily mean nice to wear. You have the extreme case of those wearing uncomfortable heels, clothes that are too tight, spandex, push ups and itchy fabrics. Why would anyone chose to suffer, why would anyone choose sure discomfort for potential attention? That goes way above my head, I have no ambition to look like a post modern sculpture, not even for halloween.
All of my clothes, and all of my friends’ and respected acquaintances’ clothes are comfortable, fitted and soft. But they are far from being pyjamas and sleepers. Not even elastane jeans and converse. Anything that has class, anything remotely chic doesn’t give you the warm feeling of hugging clothes. Long flowing dresses and cute leather flip flops being the exception but those are summery and no fashion week happens in august.
So yes, despite extremely well engineered high heels swapped for ballerinas when you have to walk, you do have blisters. Sometimes you get blisters just because the weather is damp and you walk around a lot, even in flats. You don’t need to do fashion week to know that.
Weather is a bitch! It can be spring in the morning, autumn for lunch, summer in the afternoon and winter at night. That’s the worst scenario as you move around whilst it’s hot, you sit at a terrasse for lunch thinking you’ll finally enjoy the weather but BAM, it’s cold and there are no sit inside anymore, then you rush for meetings and shows in the heat. Finally, you go for an event at night in that nice little dress you had planned and you’ll feel as frozen as the Snow Queen but no kids will love you for it.
All this drama may get on your nerves if it’s your 1st fashion week but soon, you just don’t care. You just don’t feel anything. You just disconnect your hot / cold / sensitivity neurones. You just suffer in silence.
MEETING FABULOUS PEOPLE:
The fashion industry is international, with models, photographers, journalists, stylists, hair and make up artists, art directors and designers from all around the world. And as I said, fashion week brings the whole industry in one city at the time, especially Paris, which is a plus point for me as lately, I have had only time to do this one.
So that gives me 9 days to organise and kick start my whole semester of work to come and meet everybody I want / need in between shows, presentations and events, and I can’t wear my running shoes to achieve this marathon.
By the time I am facing the fashion director, the editor in chief, the designer I want to work with, I have had to make the same intro about a zillion time before and I risk going into a powerpoint presentation mode which will for sure kill my attempted fabulous factor.
As if that wasn’t a challenge already, I am facing people who are on their 4th fashion week in a row (New York, London, Milan and Paris are back to back) so they are probably jet lagged, they have met more people than their brain can process and they may not even remember their own name.
EATING DELICIOUS FOOD:
Eating? When? The only lunch meeting I had turned into a bloody mary for her and a carrot juice for me (I know, how healthy of me, right?). Service takes too long when you have half hour meetings back to back in different locations.
Aside from an insanely early consistent breakfast, feeding is limited to your own provisions (I carry dry fruits in my bag) and canapés at parties and let’s talk about those canapés. There are more and more parties / events
that offer no food at all and only serves champagne. Please don’t even start mocking me here, I hear you with your “awh poor baby, champagne only”. 9 days without real food, I am hungry and therefore angry. And when canapés are indeed served, you can’t just make a dinner out of it. How ridiculous would you be sitting by the buffet and devouring each spoon you can reach?
The complete opposite of my experience can happen too. There are those who have morning meetings which turn out to be unannounced breakfast meetings where large amount of delicious food is served, yet they already had a breakfast at their hotel, then they’ll have 2 lunch meetings, one at noon and another at 1pm, in the evening they’ll attend an event where canapés will be served and finally they’ll have two sat down dinner, one at 8 pm and the other one at 10 pm. I am not exaggerating, I heard it from the horse’s mouth (guess she felt like a horse by then end too)
SEEING BEAUTIFUL THINGS:
Issey Miyake, chiffon, Palais de Tokyo, jersey, red, lace, Chanel, avenue Montaigne, silk, cotton, layers, Martin Grant, wigs, feathers, Tuileries, purple, Vogue, yellow, orange is the new black, Dior, gold, shoes, gothic, leather, Kendal Jenner, Rochas, stilettos, Yazbukey, organza, corset, Première Classe, pastel tones, motor bikes, Elie Saab, bags, alligator, nude, Little Shilpa, le marais, Zoe Chicco, Le Costes, …
By the end of fashion week, your brain is like a desktop on which you saved all your favourite images without putting them in a folder. The quantity is such that your head is spinning. Actually, it’s like going to a film festival and watching several films in a row. You remember each detail of each film but you struggle pairing actors to situations.
Time to pull your socks up and play linking game: Red dress ➔ by ➔ Yohji Yamamoto ➔ seen at ➔ Hotel de Ville.
And in case of total black out, Vogue is there to the rescue.
Bottom line, neither of this is a drama. We wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t worth it and every bit of madness is more than bearable because in the end we work for a fascinating industry and we are thankful to be part of it, however little or huge our impact may be.